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Rechargeable Hearing Aid Launched In NZ

14 November 2006

Rechargeable Hearing Aid Launched In NZ

People who wear hearing aids will soon be able to take advantage of the latest technology development, as GN ReSound prepares to launch a fully rechargeable hearing aid onto the New Zealand market.

GN ReSound (NZ) General Manager, Allister Daly, said the launch tomorrow [15 November] of the state-of-the-art hearing aid called ReSound Pulse would come as welcome news for the over 100,000 New Zealanders1 who need to wear a hearing aid.

“Market research identified rechargeability as being important for users aged between 45-64 years. With the launch of ReSound Pulse, the hassle for hearing aid wearers of changing batteries will now be a thing of the past,” Mr Daly said.

“The rechargeable batteries last for up to 24 hours, so the user no longer has to worry about running out of power in the middle of the day.”

The hearing aid is placed directly into a recharger overnight and five hours later it is ready for use. The recharger can also be powered via the USB port on any PC.

Aside from rechargeability, the ReSound Pulse also has a number of high tech features including a Digital Feedback Suppression system which allows the user to benefit from excellent speech intelligibility even in noisy environments such as restaurants and bars.

“A new technology developed by GN ReSound also suppresses wind noise making it ideal for people who enjoy outdoor activities.”

Mr Daly said today’s hearing aids are a far cry from some of the first hearing aids which were said to be made of wood and shaped like the ears of animals known to have acute hearing.

“Today’s hearing aids like the ReSound Pulse are in tune with the latest developments in technology, better suited to the modern lifestyle, come in a range of fashionable colours and are so small that they are no bigger than a 20 cent coin.

“Developments in this area are now occurring at such a rapid pace that we expect the next generation of hearing aids to be even smaller than the ones currently available, plus rechargeable hearing aids will be the norm. We also anticipate that the hearing aids of tomorrow will have all of the advanced design and technical benefits we currently see today and a whole lot more.”

- ends -

1 Statistics New Zealand

For further information:
Christine Meads
P: 09 525 0061
M: 027 294 0823

Hearing Aid Timeline

1588 Giovanni Battista Porta describes some early hearing aids in Magia Naturalis. The hearing aids were made of wood and shaped like the ears of animals known to have acute hearing.

1670 Sir Samuel Moreland invents a large speaking trumpet. It was two feet eight inches long and made of glass.

1757 Jorrison, an elderly German merchant rediscovers bone conduction as a hearing aid. Jorrison was sitting next to a harpsichord when the pip in his mouth accidentally rested on the harpsichord. He discovered he could hear the music distinctly.

Late 1700s Funnel or conical ear trumpets are common hearing devices.

1800 Frederick C Rein establishes F.C Rein and Son in London – the earliest firm known to manufacture hearing aids on a commercial basis.

1812 Jean Marie Gaspard Itard develops a bone conduction hearing device. The speaker held the wooden rod between his teeth and the listener held the broader end against his teeth.

1836 First known British patent for a hearing aid is issued to Alphonsus William Webster.

1855 First patent in the United States for a hearing aid is issued to Edward G, Hyde.

1874 Dr Constantin Paul develops what he calls a binaurical cornet – a self-holding binaural conversation tube, having a headband to join the ear-pieces and a Y shaped connection for the central tube and those to the ears.

1879 Richard Rhodes invents the Rhodes Audiophone – a thin piece of pliable material shaped like a fan.

1885 Enoch Henry Currier invents a Duplex Ear-piece, using two tubes each ending in a bell, from one ear piece.

1892 First US patent for an electric hearing aid is issued to Alonzo E. Miltimore.

1902 Charles W Harper offers a carbon-type hearing aid – the Oriphone, for sale.

1910 Siemens begins manufacturing hearing aids

1912 First volume control for a hearing aid is introduced by the Globe Ear-Phone Company.

1920 Earl C. Hansen invents the first vacuum tube hearing aid – the Vactuphone.

1926 Halsey A. Frederick receives first US patent for a custom earmold.

1932 First wearable bone conduction hearing aid is introduced by Sonotone Corporation.

1935 The first “master hearing aid” – the Selx-A-Phone, is introduced by Radioear Corporation.

1938 The first wearable vacuum tube hearing aid is made in the US

Early 1940s One piece vacuum tube hearing devices become feasible

Early 1950s Transistor hearing aids are introduced and begin to replace vacuum tube hearing aids.

1953 First all-transistor hearing aid introduced by Microtone.

1954 Dahlberg Inc. introduces the first “in-the-ear” hearing aid.

1969 Willco introduces first hearing aid with a directional microphone.

1971 The tiny electret/FET microphone is introduced.

1983 In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are introduced.

1983 The earliest wearable digital hearing aid is made in experimental form by Audiotone.

1991 Oticon Denmark presents the first fully automatic hearing aid without a volume control/

1993-4 Starkey and Argosy introduce completely-in-the-ear hearing devices.

1996 The first fully digital hearing aid is successfully commercialised.

2000 The first FDA-approved implantable middle ear hearing device is introduced.

2005 Digital signal processing (DSP) technology has replaced analog technology in approximately 90 percent of hearing aid fittings.

2006 There are an estimated 560 million people in the world with a hearing loss.


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